11.18.2023-11.24.2023. London. England.

Aside from seeing friends I haven't seen in many years, I typically do try to get away week of Thanksgiving as it's a great time for international travel. Especially with the aid of credit card points. I wanted to stay near Shoreditch as it's central and near most things. I ended up at Lehman Locke. Locke Living has many design centric short terms rentals in Europe. I liked this flat as it's a studio apartment with everything you need and it's more spacious than a hotel room. It is also across the street from Algate East station for me to get around on the tube and it's a 15 minute walk to Shoreditch and it's also by Brick Lane. It was the perfect spot to post up for the first leg of my London trip. I wish there was a tub as a tub is the best for when you are walking all day, which is most days when you are on holiday, and that the bed had a better mattress. Overall, this was a great value with good design and I would recommend it!

After we had lunch at Noble Rot, we walked around Soho and ended up at Liberty London, one of my musts whenever I am in London. If you like their fabric, be sure to give yourself time to go through their collection and their archives.

Then we went to Fortnum & Mason to stock up on teas and biscuits and to Harrods so Uli can buy his special cologne. We tried to get a tea/coffee at the Prada Cafe there but ended up elsewhere as it was closing. But look how lovely it is!

Hilariously, Dimitri from Paris was headlining at EartH Hackney the night I land in London. My friend Sarah, who was working in London at the time had never seen him and really wanted to. I told her that if I slept most of the flight and she brings me a coffee at 10PM, I will rally for her. So... Always a treat seeing Dim, and twice in 2 trips overseas is a good roll. Thanks again for the boogie Dim!

The next day we ended up at the Royal Academy via bus as there was the Marina Abramović show.

I ended up at St. Pancras Station as I was meeting a friend for brunch and went early to see the Christmas tree made of books. How lovely is this?

Then I met up with Uli in Shoreditch where he was staying on our way to Tate Modern before dinner.

While I did not get anything from Jolene during this trip, it is on my list. Be sure you get yourself something from their bakeries or have a meal at their restaurants.

The El Anatsui at the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern was breathtaking. Be sure to see the piece from all angles. Just wow!

Typical English charm.

The holidays just hit different at the other motherland... I really miss all this around November and December. It was so festive and lively and crowded and places were open. Unlike in San Francisco.

Uli suggested we go see Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club as he hasn't seen it yet and those were THE tickets in town. The previous run had Eddie Redmayne and they were impossible to get. I just saw that one is moving to Broadway for next April in case you were interested. I had no idea it was so risqué and realized why no one ever suggested I watch this musical as a kid. I would recommend it if you like musicals and are not easily offended. The theatre was gorgeous and the acting and singing superb! Made me wonder what the previous version was like for winning so many awards.

For the tail end of my trip, I opted for Artist Residence with the help of my credit card points. As previously mentioned, I like to close out with something nicer to end the trip. If I were able to take my typical 2 week international holiday, I would have loved to also spend a week in the country to balance it out. But having this master suite was not a bad way to wrap up this trip. I had this deep claw foot tub and an amazing mattress in my suite. It was also in Pimlico so I got to mix up neighborhoods as well! They also have other boutique hotels around England. Check them out.


11.18.2023-11.24.2023. Food. London. England.

I had not been to the other motherland since 2015 and I had not seen gay husband #2 since our last trip together in Japan in 2018. Since Uli and I had not seen each other in so long, we decided it was due time we spent some time together. Since he now lives in Berlin, we figured London was a good place to meet up since he has to work there once a month anyhow. After doing London for a week, I will say this again: I prefer no less than 2 weeks for any overseas travel. While I had a blast seeing all my friends I had not seen in forever and it was precisely what I needed, it was too short and I wish I had time to also go to the countryside. Alas, you can't have it all.

London around Thanksgiving week is a great time for a visit. It's covered in holiday glory (how I have missed this) and you get to miss the shitshow that is travel home stateside in addition to some awkward family fun. "Sign me up!" said no one sane and emotionally healthy ever.

Lucky you! I literally dropped off my luggage, cleaned up and headed straight to lunch. So you get all my food adventures first.

This is London, so you have to be on the ball for great reservations. That is how we got all our first choices. Some book 3 months in advance, while others drop a month in advance. Be quick about it if you intend to get them.

First up was Noble Rot. Noble Rot serves upscale seasonal British pub food with an extensive wine list. While I am now an Uhmerican, I am originally a Brit, so I do British food and tea and biscuits like a royal champ. So it's only fitting that I start with this English pub classic in Soho. You can also buy their famed magazines there.

We saved room for dessert for Chin Chin across the street. Which is on my list of the best hot chocolates in London. I got their signature hot chocolate. Drinkable s'more? Yes please!

The next day we had Kiln for lunch, which is exceptional Thai in Soho. Generally I am wary of Thai in England from previous experience and I have great Thai in San Francisco. However, I trust Uli's palette and recommendations enough to just go with it. Kiln is a casual atmosphere that packs much heat, and I am not talking spice. I wish we had counter seats but they are for walk-ins only for when you are feeling lucky or show up early. We tried a bit of everything to balance out our meal per usual and everything we ordered were delicious.

I have to confess that I have only ever had breakfast at Dishoom. I really tried to have lunch there at least once to try the lunch menu, but timing was not in my favor. However, I can tell you that the Shoreditch location is superior. I always get the bacon naan roll with bottomless chai for breakfast.

I had to pay my friend the Royal Baker Claire a visit. So I showed up to her Violet Cakes. She will always be the Royal Baker in my eyes as she made Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding cake. I took my friend Ez with me as he had always wanted to go and he bought all the cakes! She is selling a ton of holiday goodies in addition to her cookbooks and she delivers to the UK and is shipping to the States even. So please check it out before everything is sold out. Her Christmas pudding has been named the best in British Vogue and by many other top chefs in London.

Now for the winning meal of the entire trip, Brat. We originally had a reservation elsewhere, but Uli was staying in Shoreditch and walked by Brat and decided to see if they had a table that night and they did, so we did a last minute switch. Oh boy, was this the surprise meal of the trip! Since Uli and I both like to try everything, we tend to order most of the menu by ourselves. Which means, my friend Sarah got the most decadent leftovers from this meal because we wanted it to go to someone who would appreciate it. Honestly, this may be one of the best meals I have had this year (and we know I have had plenty of great ones). Brat does open fire cooking with a lot of Basque influence that is of the hunt to table variety. You MUST order all the bread dishes. You will understand why. And you cannot let the butter go to waste as you MUST take it with you. Everything was remarkable. The tables are literally on top of each other so hopefully you have fun neighbors like we did. Wear loose clothing. You have been warned!

I chose 2 high teas for this London trip. Since I never made it to Claridge's, this was my must high tea this time. You have to book this 3 months in advance year round. This is now my current most delicious high tea in the world. You can also try all the different teas that they offer, which we did. I am a huge David Downton fan, so naturally I had to roam the halls afterwards to see his originals.

Big Mamma group restaurants are lively and great for a group, and always a good time! Each one evokes a sense of la dolce vita. I chose Carlotta for this trip. Mostly it was great fun to catch up with Matt and Sarah. We shared fantastical tales, mostly insane dating stories. I am ready to write this script. Holla at your girl! But hey, we had a great time and food came in plates the size of our torsos. What's not to like?

I moved hotel to Pimlico for the tail end of my trip and I was near Belgravia. I was walking around there and stumbled upon Peggy Porschen. Naturally, I ate breakfast here. Peggy Porschen bakeries are pastel picture perfect. I got the porridge with poached pear. They had a photoshoot next to me for their holiday afternoon teas, which made me laugh. Even when I am not working I end up at a shoot.

For my second high tea, I chose something more festive and floral, so I picked The Petersham Covent Garden. It would be a dream to do high tea at The Petersham Richmond garden, sadly I did not make it to the country this time around. I mean. Look at it. Doesn't get more festive than this.